Run to the Fortress!

4 May

A daddy was listening to his four-year-old say his bedtime prayer.

“Dear Harold,” the boy began.Praying Little Boy

“Wait a minute,” said the dad. “How come you called God ‘Harold’?”

The little boy looked up and said, “That’s what they call Him in church. You know, ‘Our Father, who art in Heaven, Harold be Thy name.”

When the father stopped laughing, the boy resumed his prayer.

He lost it again when the boy said, “And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.”

Another little boy once prayed, “Dear God, please take care of yourself, because if anything happens to you, we’re gonna be in a big mess!” *

We smile at these children’s prayers, but that last one had a nugget of truth. Without God, we ARE in a big mess. And our nation desperately needs to understand that.

May 5, 2011, is the 60th annual observance of the National Day of Prayer. The theme chosen for the special day of prayer is “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

I (Dawn) remember when my two young sons used to build forts among the low trees on our back hill. They “defended” their territory from these fortresses, and I often smiled at their youthful valor.  But it also pictured for me how God defends us, and we are safe with Him.

Psalm 91:2 says, “I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”  I think that this is a verse we all should memorize for these tough days. 

Whether economic upheaval, family breakdown, or even the threat of war, we have a safe place in God ~ we can trust Him regardless of our circumstances.

That doesn’t mean that we’ll have it easy. Life inside a fortress can get pretty spartan. But we know that ultimately, our lives are safe with God if we have put our trust in Him. The opposite is also true. Those who do not know the God of the Bible have no sturdy fortress. They trust in things and people that can fail (Psalm 118:8).

Psalm 18:1-2 says God is our rock, fortress, and deliverer. What does this mean? Our Mighty God is our our security, our shield, our safety, our stronghold, our strength, and our Savior!

The writer of the song in Psalm 46, declared, “God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” We have no reason to fear, for the Lord Almighty is with us. Yes, the God of Jacob is our fortress. When we are most tempted to fear, our Father in heaven says, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Do you know Him? Do you trust Him? You can personalize this Psalm… “The Lord of hosts is with ME! The God of Jacob is MY fortress.”

Our focus in times of trouble must not be on the scary things, the shaky things. Our focus must be on God, our Mighty Fortress. We must run to Him!

Perhaps you are familiar with the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” by Martin Luther. I came across the direct translation of the words, which read a little different than what we sing today … but its truth is ageless:

‘A sure stronghold our God is he,
a trusty shield and weapon.
Our help he’ll be and set us free
from every ill can happen.”

No matter what you are facing today, or will face in the unsure days to come, remember that God ~ your Mighty Fortress ~ will be there.  Trust Him. Rest in Him. And as this Day of Prayer draws near, pray for our nation, and pray that others will find Him as their refuge, too.

* Adapted from http://www2.netdoor.com/~gina/cleanjokes.htm

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